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From Therese Borchard at HuffingtonPost:

Ah, the magic and wonder of the holiday season … It has even my fragile and anxious brain abandoning the logical, reasoning, and uptightness of the left side, and relying on a feast of senses–fresh evergreen, Christmas carolers, winter wonderlands, and eggnog–to fill it with the hope and joy absent the rest of the year. It all sustains me until December 26, when I wake up with a bit of a holiday hangover. But this year I’m going to keep Christmas in my heart well into the new year. Yes, here is how I intend to cultivate joy even when Santa has returned to his home in the North Pole.

1. Say thank you all the time.

Holiday cards are, for me, an opportunity to say thank you. The day after Thanksgiving I compose a list of the special people who have touched my life–former professors, college roommates, old colleagues and bosses–and in the weeks following, I express to them how grateful I am for their presence in my life, that they influenced me in ways they are probably unaware of. But why should I reserve this important gesture of appreciation just for December? Why not say thank you more often, every time I remember a certain person’s kindness or come across a lesson he taught me?

2. Go green.

Every plant I have ever cared for has died. I’m not a green thumb, except for the month of December, when I go crazy with poinsettias. I buy at least five for our home, and I give them away as gifts to teachers, neighbors, and special friends–a tradition my mom started when I was a young girl. I also wake up at 5:30 in the morning so I can grab 15 times of quiet time by the Christmas tree and smell the fresh pine as I sip my coffee. This year I’m going to try to hang on to my green thumb–to buy at least one plant that I can water year round–and nurture the life that it gives back to me.

3. Light up.

I think it’s the Catholic in me. I assume God can hear me better if I stick my face in a hot glowing body of fire. Sometime in early December, I pull out all of our candles and start lighting them in the morning during my meditation, at the dinner table, and sometimes in the evening. I am soothed in some weird way by the scarlet blaze. I love that the Christmas season is filled with light, symbolizing hope and the arrival of something good. So why not light up the rest of the year?

4. Indulge

I abandon all diets in December. I have one loud, insistent sweet tooth, so I throw away the discipline after Thanksgiving and gobble up all the gingerbread men. When a neighbor drops by with a box of Godiva chocolates, I break the box open right in front of her and dig in. I realize I’m not going to get a glowing endorsement from the American Diabetes Association for my philosphy. But don’t we live according to too many rules today? American writer, Ernestine Ulmer was on to something when he said “Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first.” Think about this too: stressed spelled backwards is dessert. Coincidence?

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